October 27, 2008

What busy days this past week.

Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, volunteers inserted the Christmas Appeal letters into 17,000 envelopes, sealed and addressed them and have them ready for mailing…all in 2 ½ days. They worked hard and had lots of fun, too. Thank you, volunteers, for all your help.

Last Thursday morning I stood at the corner of the road west of the Convent to watch the escort of Patriot Guard and others as they took The Vietnam Moving Wall out to Camp Ripley. May God be with them and all the families of those named on The Wall.

Last Friday, Oct. 24th, some of the staff from the St. Cloud Children’s Home came to our Motherhouse 11 a.m. Mass to present an art piece to us Franciscans to honor all those Sisters who served Children from 1895 to 2007. In Little Falls, in 1895 arrangements were made to build an orphanage. The name, St. Otto, was given to the building in honor of Bishop Otto Zardetti of St. Cloud. The building sheltered as many as 95 to 135 children under the care of twelve Sisters. Four teachers were employed nine months of the year. In 1912, the schools were graded and children graduating from the eighth grade received their diplomas from the Superintendent of Public Schools. In June 1924 and in the course of several months the orphans were transferred to the new St. Cloud Orphanage in St. Cloud, MN. By the time the orphanage was established in St. Cloud over 3,000 children had been in the care of the Sisters. From 1924 to 2007, 172 Sisters ministered at the Children’s Home. “The Caregiver” is the name of the statue we received. It is placed near the Chapel entrance.

Saturday afternoon I went out to Camp Ripley to see the Vietnam Moving Wall. What an emotional experience. Just approaching it, I was covered with goose bumps. I had forgotten that Mark Eklund’s name was on that Wall. Brad and Dawn Laager were at the Wall and they reminded me that Mark’s name was on the Wall. We found his name. Mark was the student that Sister Helen Mrosla wrote about in her article, Thank You, Sister, for Teaching Me. Mark died in Vietnam. He was one of her 9th graders when we taught at St. Mary’s School in Morris, MN. On the 64 panels are listed 58,253 names of American soldiers who died, or are POWs and MIAs during the Vietnam War. (This is one of the two ½-size models of the full-size Wall in Washington, DC, that have been travelling around the United States the past many years.) The memorial honors the 2.7 million men and women who served in the U.S. military in Vietnam. I did watch the video explaining the history of the Wall. It was excellent. The Moving Wall came from Wisconsin and will go to Tennessee next.

Saturday was the Halloween Zoo Boo at Pine Grove Zoo. It is always a fun time for youth of all ages. This coming Friday 50+ town businesses will be hosting Trick or Treaters from 3:30 to 5 p.m. It is fun to drive through downtown to see all the costumed youth.

At the Motherhouse we will be having Little Kids Day on Oct. 31st. Children and grandchildren of employees will be our guests. They will come in costume, too…and so will some of the adults. Many activities are planned. The little ones add a real spark to life whenever they are around!

Sunday there were two activities at the same time that I wanted to attend. So, I went to ½ hour of the presentation at Welcoming House in St. Cloud on the Franciscan-Muslim Dialog. What I heard was very good.

Then I went to the St. Cloud Cathedral for a presentation on Franz Jagerstatter, a Martyr for the Faith. Franz was a Secular Franciscan. He was a 37-year-old man who died because he refused to join Hitler’s army. A year ago yesterday, October 26, 2007, he was beatified, a step on the way to being named a saint in the Catholic Church. His 94-year old wife and four daughters were present for his beatification. This morning I typed in his name in Google and found many articles on him and his life. I am eager to read the book about him, A True Story of Almost Matchless Heroism IN SOLITARY WITNESS by Gordon Zahn.

This morning I attended the funeral at St. Mary’s Parish, here in Little Falls, for native son, Father John Miller, age 76. The Bishop and 65+ priests were in attendance. I am always so edified to see how the priests support one another. May Fr. John be enjoying life with the Lord.

Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you cast your ballot in next Tuesday’s elections. Do vote.

Next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the Bloodmobile will be at St. Francis Center. The first two days the hours are 2 to 8 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Giving blood is a life-saving act of charity. God bless all generous donors and volunteers who make for successful days.

Remember to change your clocks—fall back—before you go to bed Saturday night.

I have more things on my list, but they will have to wait until next time.

Peace and God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou

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